Sooner or later, it all comes down to money. Or at least that’s what these people say. The church is all about getting money and spending money and paying people and getting paid. It’s like a character in James Jones’s novel, The Thin Red Line, who went around muttering, “Property, kid; all for property.”
When I’m in that dark, private corner, I have to say to the guy, “You know, it’s not about money at all. Sometimes it seems like it is, but it’s not. You can’t buy the Gospel. You can’t buy God. Money is the last thing God needs.” And the guy will usually just chuckle and try to start the conversation again. Pretty soon, I’ll leave to find some other interlocutor.
I believe with all my heart that our faith is not at all about money. But I also believe that our faith tells us what to do with our money. We use what we need, and give some away, being reminded always that God says that from whom much is given, much will be asked.
In our Gospel text this week, a rich man comes to Jesus just as he is leaving town. And Jesus tells him that if he really wants to follow him, he should sell everything he has and give the money to the poor and follow him. And the man went away sorrowful, because he had many things.
Jesus’s words were a challenge to the man. Jesus’s words are a challenge to us. What do we own and love that we need to give up to follow Jesus? And can we experience that news and that loss as a great good, rather than a sorrow?
- Pastor John
Readings for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost
- Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
- Psalm 90: 12-17
- Hebrews 4:12-16
- Mark 10:17-31